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I started out as a fresh grad in this game company as a QA and legacy game programmer. I was very happy to have the job and eager to learn but the poor attitude of the 'senior' devs shot me down. Ironically, I never ever considered a job in game development in my life - it was the only job I could find at the time. They found me on LinkedIn and I was desperate for a job so I took it. They didn't want to train me at all and I was left to my own devices 99% of the time. I tried my best to look into their custom framework but whenever I had an important question about it they shot me down. I hardly call asking questions about how things work and why they are done 'hand-holding'. You cannot Google stuff like that. And yes, I did give things an honest shot before bugging them. They expected me to be at their level and know everything. How could I? They had been at it for 7 years.

I had never worked as a programmer in my life and had a lot of struggles getting started on any of the projects. I didn't know how to use github etc. and instead of offering suggestions to improve my learning they just were bitter and looked down on me and gave a horrible attitude. I did not put these things on my resume and they were not listed under the job requirements and I did not learn them in my studies so they had no right to direct their anger at me. I hated it. I felt so unappreciated and disrespected. They do this to all 'newbies'. They don't want to help out with 'rookie' stuff. One of the other people threatened to quit if they didn't get more help.

As a result, I just stopped asking them for help and did unpaid overtime quite a bit getting myself up to speed - I distanced myself from them and quit asking questions. I never REALLY got a handle of the framework they were using but I still managed to get 2 games out.

I am a curious person and I like to know ALL about the tools I am using. When I ask questions I should have known the answer to a year ago (I've been there 2) they look at me like I'm crazy and stupid but they didn't want to help at the time so how would I know. It's getting to the point where I've had it with these people. I feel depressed and have lack of confidence. You have probably seen my other posts.

What kind of questions would you ask at the next interview to avoid these kind of people again?

Would you bring it up with management?

What would you say at the next interview if they ask why I left?

I cannot understand these people because I like to help others as much as I can regardless of their experience level and I like to collaborate.

If junior devs are such a burden on seniors why bother to hire them in the first place if our 'lack of skills' is so disgusting to you?

closed as off-topic by gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Chris E, Michael Grubey, Garrison Neely Apr 6 '15 at 21:52

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  • "Real questions have answers. Rather than explaining why your situation is terrible, or why your boss/coworker makes you unhappy, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, click here." – gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Chris E, Michael Grubey, Garrison Neely
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12

Let me start off by saying that I have worked in the video game industry for over 7 years now. I have worked on and shipped over 10 AAA games worldwide. My work has primarily entailed working on the game publishing end, but I have worked with all teams including large-scale development and QA teams. I also started out in the industry as QA and worked my way up the ladder.

That said, I was a little disappointed by some of the comments you received on this question. Especially those hinting towards the idea that you should know better or maybe you should have done more research to even bother wasting the time of a senior developer as if these senior developers sit on ivory towers somewhere in the office.

Let me say this in pretty plain text:

If I'm a senior developer sitting on a team where I have some of my team members not able to be successful at what they do or they seem to be running into a lot of roadblocks that is making it harder for them to be successful at what they do. Then it's still my job to identify and help them stay successful on the team.

If for some reason I don't, such as not identifying they are not able to do their job or they are having a lot of difficulties understanding their job, then I'm not actively identifying problems on the team. If I'm not actively identifying problems on the team that myself or other leadership should be addressing, then screw my own person opinions on whether or not you should know this or not, I'm enabling both the team and the business to suffer.

It is absolutely not entirely your fault that you cannot receive any guidance. It is also absolutely not your fault that you have lost motivation to seek further guidance after the many attempts have failed. This is entirely on the business and your leadership to address. And because of that, I would encourage you to actively bring up this topic with your leadership to help address.

At the end of the day, not every team, company or leader is perfect. Everyone has their faults. If you truly see the value and fun in working there, then it's also your responsibility to help identify the same problems your seniors and leaders are missing. Please do go out of your way and work with your team to help address these issues and let them know along the way that you will do everything you can to help achieve this.

That way not only can continue to be happy and successful, but also the team and the business can ensure their success too. The better the team, the better the product and of course the better the company is in the long run.

Hope that helps. I actually just signed up to answer this one question. :)

  • 2
    Thank you! Your answer brightened by day and I was also very disappointed by the other comments. – Kerry Apr 5 '15 at 0:49
  • No problems. Glad I could help. I was in a similar position like yours. It harden me up a great deal too. Now, I actively engage my leaders a lot more to help them root out issues like these. With good management, everything works out in the end. – Glen Swan Apr 5 '15 at 1:17
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Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that some working environments are more supportive than others and this one is not.

You have posted several times asking for advice about conflicts between you and your colleagues and management so you are definitely not interacting with them well. Not clear if it's them, you, both of you or it's mutually reinforcing negativity. If it's mutually reinforcing negativity, you might look at what you can change so that you are not supplying your share of the kerosene into the fire.

Despite all your travails, you have managed to learn enough to be effective and to hold on to your job. Given the non-supportive environment that you are in, it's quite an achievement on your part.

You are not going to change any of the senior devs nor are you going to change the way this place is run. Unless you somehow manage to own the place, because that's what it's going to take. My advice is to look for a place that's more supportive and where people work and operate the way you do - Just keep relations with your management good enough to score a couple of references.

  • Is there such a supportive environment in programming though? – Kerry Apr 4 '15 at 4:12
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    Yeah. Examples: Google, Pivotal Labs, About.com - and that's just a few examples. Any place that implements XP (eXtreme Programming) - You haven't been paying attention :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 4 '15 at 4:29
4

First its good that you realize your problem in the company. Your desire for continuous learning is commendable as reflected by asking this question.

Having said that, this sentence does not is a poor action on your part:

I just stopped asking them for help and did unpaid overtime quite a bit getting myself up to speed while secretly hating and distancing myself from the others.

Closing yourself off to others is not a good idea as it could only alienate you more from others. Keep a positive attitude and do not let frustration interfere with doing quality work. Getting emotional at work is unprofessional and immature and does not solve the underlying problem you are facing. You mention more senior developers as not providing enough guidance, but your reaction of putting up a wall will only impede your goal of obtaining support. People usually do not want to work with someone who is uncooperative / negative.

What kind of questions would you ask at the next interview to avoid these kind of people again?

The problems you mention here and in most of your previous posts seem to concern lack of support / over-competiveness / lack of a open work culture. Hence, next time I would ask questions to better understand the culture of the company at the interview such as:

  1. What are some programs available to support new employees?
  2. Can you describe how teams collaborate or interact in working on a project
  3. What is the development philosophy / focus on interactive methods such as pair programming.

Would you bring it up with management?

I would definitely bring this issue up with your supervisor. If you are not receiving enough support or direction in performing your job, it is your responsibility to make this known to your management. He or she cannot be expected to be psychic and magically know your grievances unless you let them be known. Ask whether your manager can suggest additional resources for you to learn, whether it be a senior peer mentor, books, or technology.

What would you say at the next interview if they ask why I left?

You can say that you did not feel the culture of the company was a good fit for you. Reasonable people should be able to understand this. Mention that you prefer a more open / collaborative culture where teamwork is stressed.

3

I have also been in similar situation and have experienced this pain, I do agree that this definitely effects performance and morale of the person. In my case what I did was simple and straight forward. I asked the guy "Hey! Do you have any problem with my performance or behavior and work ethics ?" the guy was surprised and than smiled and than after few chit chats we became good friends. This definitely solved the problem for few weeks and later I realized I really don't fit in their work culture and eventually got a better paying job somewhere else.

In your case too, I think you should start with "asking", since you are saying their are a number of seniors, you can ask the question in any team meeting, for your case the question should be like "Since I am a junior developer of the team I want to know whether I am performing as per your expectations or not ? Is their any area you want me to improve ?" this will certainly break the walls and you will also get good answers which will help you in future. If they ask "Why you are saying this ?" you can go ahead and tell them that you feel "isolated".

Since you have just passed from the college and this is your first job, I would suggest not to read too much between the two lines. In professional world people have their own goals and targets to meet. Sometimes they are just too busy "in their tasks" that they may sound uninterested in your questions when actually they are just too busy.

Another aspect is that people sitting in senior (higher) positions usually have larger views of company plans and project life. Many a times they get instructed from management to focus on higher priority tasks and in most cases junior developer's don't get chance to work on such projects.

And at last since they have been in this organizations for last 7 years they already have their own friends, likes and dislikes. Try to make your entry in this group. This is corporate and we need to behave like a team player if you don't like their talks "fake it" for few weeks.

Even after doing all this for few weeks (say 4-6 weeks) if you don't see any improvement in situation. Start searching for another job but "Remember no matter wherever you go you will find few persons with this same behavior."

We need to deal with it instead of running away. Don't repeat the mistake what I did.

  • 1
    Did you miss the part where she already asked multiple times during her first year and they shot her down, and 2 years later they continue to shoot her down when she asks? – Jack Apr 3 '15 at 23:45
2

I have also had to deal with the same kind of lack of cooperation that you experienced.

There could be a few different reasons why those people acted as they did but you might never actually know why unless you corner one and have an uncomfortably frank discussion (and even then, there is no guarantee that you're getting the truth). I have a strong but unproven suspicion that this type of attitude to newcomers occurs because the perpetrators themselves were treated harshly as they were breaking in. For some folks being dismissed by peers when they're new results in them repeating the behavior when roles are reserved and they're the experienced one. Others, fortunately, act in a way that is opposite to how they were treated (that is probably you).

To answer your question, I don't think there is any interview technique that will fish out this type of environment. If you can't get to the root cause now, you won't be able to in the short time of an interview in a new place. The best thing you can do is to ask to see the workplace during your onsite and, if possible, chat with people you would be working with. If you get a "negative vibe" then you should take that feeling very seriously and reconsider whether you want to join them.

As for what to say about your experience. Just use common sense. The stock advice is to NEVER say anything negative about your previous employer. That is good advice. Just explain that you're ready to move on to new challenges and that you're interested in the work of the new employer. No need to go into the drama of what happened to you.

The good news is that most places aren't THAT BAD. So your bad experience will fade to become a very memorable chanllenge rather than something that hurts your confidence.

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